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AZ Game and Fish Department updates cooperative policy with tribes

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

Years in the making, a series of language revisions modernize the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s long-standing cooperative agreement that centers on the role of law enforcement in relation to the state’s 22 federally recognized tribes. 

A major textual change starts with its title. It shifted the agreement’s focus from “Cooperative Law Enforcement and Wildlife Efforts on Indian Reservations” to “Cooperating With Tribal Governments.” It also broadens the scope of the state agency’s relationship by reaffirming support for hunter education and outreach, as well as wildlife and cultural resources management.

Game and Fish Commissioner Clay Hernandez, of Tucson, said department employees spend plenty of time collaborating with their tribal counterparts, and the policy should reflect that same commitment.

"I believe that this agreement here continues to foster that," Hernandez said. "And we’re very appreciative of the work that they do with us and the work that we get to do with them."

Commissioners unanimously approved the amendments on Friday morning. 

Gabriel Pietrorazio is a correspondent who reports on tribal natural resources for KJZZ.